Make Nine 2018 – an update on my sewing projects

Hi, I thought I’d update you on my Make Nine 2018 progress. I picked various patterns and fabrics, which I wrote about  here in early February. So far I’ve actually made three things from my Make Nine list plus a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails! Four garments in less than two months! That’s gotta be a record for me.

I think around this time last year I’d made only two things – a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2017 and a reversibleToaster Sweater.

Here’s what I made in January:

• A hand-sewn midi skirt from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (Amazon affiliate link here). I used a maroon (rust red?) knit fabric in my stash. I’ve worn it a couple of times but I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.

• My fourth Pilvi Coat from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, a birthday present from one of my sisters in 2016 (Amazon affiliate link here).

Pilvi Coat in ponte knit - pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - Make Nine 2018

In February, I made:

• A skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2018. I meant to sew a sleeveless top to go with it but it required some fitting and I ran out of time. I made two mock-ups and then I just had to hem the skirt. I need to take photos of it but you can sort of see it here.

Skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February

The fabric is a beautiful cotton print I got from Britex Fabrics several years ago. The print is a beautiful deep blue that looks like a water color. As I recall, it was quite pricey, even thought I got it sale; it was an imported cotton. It was a dream to sew and press. And it feels so lovely. For a fabric like this I decided to line this bias-cut skirt with Bemberg rayon. I’ll blog about it soon!

Here’s a panoramic group photo of the event. You can see more photos on the Bay Area Sewists meetup page or the Facebook album. I’m standing under the “K” of Frocktails. 😉

Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February - group photo!

I also finished the Twist-and-Drape top from the Japanese sewing book Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa (out of print). This is essentially my muslin. I had a few yards of this semi-sheer cotton silk fabric, which was an online impulse buy. It’s been sitting in my stash forever.

The pattern called for a lightweight cotton so I decided to use it. However, it wasn’t easy to make bias tape from it, which is how most of the raw edges are finished. It was annoying but I persevered.

Here are some bathroom photos. I’ll take better photos soon!

Twist-and-Drape top from Japanese sewing book Drape Drape by Natsuno Hiraiwa - Make Nine 2018

It’s supposed to button but as you can see, it doesn’t overlap. I added an inch to the back but I’ll need to add more width to the front and side seams if I make it again. But I’m fine with wearing like a vest.

Here are some photos from the book showing how to put it on.

Twist-and-Drape top from Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa

If I make it again I’ll be using a very lightweight cotton that will be easier to sew and press.

I didn’t realize that I had completed four garments until I tallied them up for this post. I was starting to feel that I hadn’t done very much because I haven’t had time to do much sewing over the past two weeks. But now I feel better.

Did you pick a project for your Make Nine 2018 list? What are you working on now?

Jung Misun and Im Seonoc in Couture Korea and ticket giveaway!

Hi, I had to return to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to take a closer look at the work by Jung Misun and Im Seonoc in the exhibit Couture Korea, which opened last month. During my first visit, my phone ran out of power by the time I got to the room devoted to their work so I went back to take more photos. (You can read my first post here.)

Three rooms are devoted to this special exhibit, which the curator encourages you to view in chronological order, starting with the historical reconstructions of hanbok, traditional Korean clothing, and concluding with the work of Im and Jung.

The work featured in this room was a yearlong collaboration between each designer and the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation. Im and Jung were challenged to reinterpret Korean historical fashion for life today. They both agreed that hanbok wasn’t very comfortable wear and they each chose fabrics that would be comfortable to wear.

Jung Misun

Jung Misun’s fashion line, Nohke, has been featured in Seoul Fashion Week. Here’s link to Vogue’s recent coverage of Jung’s 2018 Spring collection. (Note: Vogue spells her name Mi Sun Jung.) And here’s a link to a May 2017 Post Magazine interview with the 33-year-old designer.

As part of the Arumjigi collaboration, Jung designed this beautiful wool knit dress.

Jung Misun - wool blend knit dress - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

I love the details in the top. You can really see the elements of traditional Korean women’s clothing in the wrap around the bust (see my earlier post on this exhibit for examples). I think this design is best suited for a small bust.

Jung Misun - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

I like the layers and unique sleeve details in this dress by Jung Misun.

Jung Misum dress - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

The leather belt it attached to part of the top.

Jung Misun dress detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

This leather tie is a dramatic detail that echoes traditional garments.

Jung Misun - dress detail Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

The delicate layer of organza is a nice contrast to the leather.

Jung Misun dress detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

These traditional women’s jackets are in the exhibit. The leather tie of Jung’s design is similar to the tie on these jackets.

Traditional Korean women's jackets - Couture Korea - Asian Art Museum

Im Seonoc

Founder of the PARTsPARTs fashion brand, Im Seonoc uses neoprene (scuba) in her designs, which you can see here, along with an interview and a YouTube video.

Im also used scuba fabric to create this jacket and skirt for the Arumjigi collabroation. (Please excuse the glare on the glass.)

Im Seonoc - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

This is a side view. The lines on this skirt are very interesting, aren’t they? I like that curving line.

Im Seonoc - scuba skirt detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

Take a look at Im’s reinterpretation of a man’s outer robe, also using scuba.

Im Seonok - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

You can see the lines of the traditional men’s robes in her design. Here’s a reconstruction of a garment from the late 1600s/early 1700s that’s in the exhibit.

Man's robe with slide slits - reconstruction of garment (late 1600s to early 1700s) - Couture Korea - Asian Art Museum

Be sure to take a good look at all the traditional garments before you get to this room. Then you can really appreciate each designers’ unique reinterpretation.

There are six garments in this room, three by each designer. I wish there was more of their work in the exhibit. Maybe they only made three garments for the collaboration with Arumjigi. Still I would have liked to see their other work as well.

I’ve highlighted four of their garments. You’ll need to see the exhibit to see the other two. And lucky for you, I have two tickets I’m giving away! To enter, just comment below that you’d like to see the exhibit. I’ll pick two winners at random next Tuesday, December 12! This exhibit is up through February 4, 2018.

Couture Korea exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

Fall sewing patterns – Simplicity and Vogue

Fall sewing patterns - Vogue V9267, Simplicity 8452, New Look 6532, Simplicity vintage reissue 8462

Hi, I finally took some time to go through the new fall sewing patterns from the Big 4 – Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. I wondered if I would see anything I liked. Some patterns were not very interesting or were just things I wouldn’t wear. But I did see a few from each company that I would like to sew.

Here are a few highlights, in no particular order, from Simplicity and Vogue. I’ll get to fall patterns from Butterick and McCalls later this month. This post would have been way to long to do all four!

Simplicity fall sewing patterns

I like this interesting 1950s knit top pattern (8452) reissued by Simplicity this year. If you visit this page, be sure to click on the tab “Envelope Back,” which has what appears to be the original illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to put it on.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Check out the front, which just tucks in the waist of whatever you’re wearing.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Love the back! I only wonder if it will stayed tucked in the front. It’s super easy to make because it’s just a rectangle so I will definitely check it out.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Apparently Simplicity will be celebrating its 90th anniversary next year. I also discovered that in honor of this event, they are selling various sewing-related goodies on their website, including a sewing planner and tote bags – all featuring vintage Simplicity images.

I’m assuming the anniversary is the reason why they are reissuing so many vintage patterns. There are patterns from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, such as this 1940s ensemble (8462).

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8462 - 1940 vintage sewing pattern - envelope front

I rarely see vintage separates reissued. I would make this bolero jacket, blouse and skirt pattern! But I likely wouldn’t wear them all together unless I made the skirt and jacket in different colors. I’m not too thrilled by the fabric choices here.

I love vintage dresses and have made a few, which you can see here and here, but I realize that I don’t wear them very much. So I’ve decided to focus on garments that I know I’ll wear more than once or twice a year.

This Simplicity pattern seems influenced by sewing blogs, which is where I first heard people discussing pattern hacks. So here’s a skirt that was drafted to be hacked. I like the drape of this skirt as is so I may just buy it for the basic skirt.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8474 - skirt pattern hack

The only other new Simplicity-related pattern I’d like to make is this New Look pattern (6352), which are very reasonably priced – just $4.29 at full price!

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

I really love the jacket. You could make it from a great home dec fabric.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - jacket

The pants are nice, too. I like the subtle flare.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

Vogue fall sewing patterns

I’m sure many people have seen Kathryn Brenne’s stunning design for this knit dress. See the image at the top to see what that skirt looks like when it’s fully open. Amazing.

Fall sewing pattern - V9268 Kathryn Brenne dress

I saw on Kathryn’s Instagram account (@kathrynbrenneoriginal) that the pattern sold out once already. Wow. So I guess Vogue did another printing because it’s still available on the website. (Follow her IG to see her great style – such striking clothes and great accessories.)

One thing I realized when looking at the current crop of Vogue patterns is that many of them have several designs aimed at covering up certain parts of the body, such as the belly, hips and derriere. It makes me wonder about the age demographic of Vogue pattern buyers. 😉 [See comments below about why this sentence is struck out.]

Here’s a fall pattern by Sandra Betzina (V1515). It doesn’t look all that interesting on this model but I saw another version in person on Sandra when I attended Artistry in Fashion last month. She eliminated the elastic around the neckline and it looked much better.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit - Sandra Betzina - V1515

Here’s the pattern cover. Sandra says she noticed in Japan that they have layered tops. She designed this one to be similar to what she saw there. It leaves a deliberate gap between the skirt and the hem of the top. Sandra says this helps to hide the waist.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina, V1515

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of her wearing the version she made. But it was flattering and I think this would be a fun layering piece to have in my wardrobe.

Sandra wore a version of this dress (V1551) to Artistry in Fashion, too. It doesn’t look very exciting here, perhaps because of the fabric choices but I can tell you that it looked more interesting on Sandra. The bottom half reminds me of Kathryn Brenne’s dress.

Fall sewing pattern - Todays Fit by Sandra Betzina - V1552

The important thing when making this dress is to use a fabric that drapes nicely. Otherwise the sides will stick out, which would be unflattering.

OK, I know I said I was going to highlight patterns I would make, but this custom-fit Vogue dress (V9267) is so pretty, I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Also, it has separate pieces for different cup sizes (A through D) and there are two skirt options, this flared one and a fitted version.

Fall sewing pattern - Vogue V9267 - dress with custom fitting options for bust

What are you making this fall?

Summer sewing plans

It’s August already and I still have some summer sewing to do. Luckily, it does stay warm in the Bay Area through September, and sometimes October. I’ve been going over my initial sewing plans for the year (see my Make Nine post) and going through my patterns and my fabric to see what I can make. I don’t have a huge stash but I don’t want to buy more fabric until I’ve sewn some of it up or destashed. Now I’m selling a few pieces of my fabric, which you can read about here.

Here’s what’s currently in progress.

Textile Studio Patterns - elastic-waist skirt

I used two fabrics to make Version B (lower right), a four-paneled skirt. The fabric on the right is a rayon remnant from Britex Fabrics. I didn’t have enough for the entires skirt but I did have this leftover solid violet rayon and I had just enough for one panel. So three panels use the print and one is violet.

It was my first time making an elastic-waist skirt. I still need to hem it. I’ve had it hanging in the closet to give the hem a chance to settle. Though the pattern says that because of the bias seams, the hem will hang “irregularly” and that is “unavoidable and part of the charm of the skirt.” The skirt panels are shaped like tall isoceles trapezoids. (Wow, never thought I’d use those two words in a sentence. Oh, grade-school geometry!)

Style Arc Imogen Skirt - CSews

I’ve cut the top part of the Imogen Knit Skirt by Style Arc – using this leftover striped knit fabric in my stash. I’ll use solid black for the rest of the skirt. I’ve been going through my stash looking for a big piece of black knit fabric. The pieces I’ve found so far aren’t long enough. This looks like a super easy skirt to put together. I got the patterns as a birthday present from one of my sisters earlier this year.

The Fabric Stash

I used to be a fabric impulse buyer. I’d see something I liked and buy it, particularly if it was on sale. I didn’t necessarily know what I would make but I’d buy a few yards and tell myself I’d use it for something. Or maybe I’d buy it with a particular pattern in mind but most of my impulse buys were just that, an impulse.

Now I ask myself, what would you make with this fabric? If I can’t answer that question, I don’t buy it, even if it’s on sale.

I’d like to make something summery from these fabrics in my stash.

Cotton fabrics - blue - CSews

The floral print and the plaid are both from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I have about 3 2/3 yards of the floral print, which is likely a cotton/silk blend, which I got for $3.50/yard earlier this year. I’m thinking tunic or flowing skirt. It’s very lightweight.

The plaid print was a 7/8 yard remnant, which I envisioned as part of a Deer & Doe Chardon skirt with a contrasting solid blue band. (I’ve made many Chardon skirts, including a maxi and a midi.)

The seersucker fabric is something I got more than a year ago at the Bay Area Sewists fabric swap. It’s nearly 2 yards. The print is really cute – maybe that’s why I haven’t sewn it yet. It’s got a travel theme. See the suitcase, hats and umbrella? Maybe I’ll make a tunic.

Seersucket print - travel theme - CSews

Meanwhile, I rediscovered this pretty red floral print in my stash. A sundress would be nice but I likely wouldn’t wear it very much. So I’m thinking separates – this 1960 Vogue reissue V9187 and another Chardon skirt. I have 5 yards of this fabric. I think it must have been a pre-cut piece I got several years ago from an Oakland drug store that’s no longer around.

V9187 Vogue reissued 1960 sewing pattern and Chardon skirt by Deer & Doe - CSews

Other patterns I want to make include this New Look 6838 pattern…

New Look 6939

…and Butterick 5893. I need more pants!

Butterick 5893 - pants sewing pattern

The Butterick pattern was on my Make Nine list.

What’s in your summer sewing queue?

div style=”display: none;”>Summer sewing - CSews

Outside pocket for a skirt

Last month I made an A-line linen skirt and attached an outside pocket to the waistband. I mentioned that I was going to show how I made the pocket. I wanted to add a pop of color to the skirt, which was a solid muted blue. I had this fun Echino print, which I got from Superbuzzy in Ventura at Craftcation last year (see my post).

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

I figured it out as I went along, starting out with a wide square. I knew I was going to add pleats to the pocket so that when I put something in it, there wouldn’t be an obvious bulge. I guess you could call it “pocket ease” – heheh.

I knew I wanted the back pocket piece to be longer than the Echino fabric because the back piece would attach to the waistband. I didn’t want to use my skirt fabric for the entire back pocket piece because linen isn’t that sturdy. So I decided to use a black poly/cotton blend and then sew a piece of the linen fabric just at the top of the back pocket piece.

I didn’t take photos of every step but I’ve written all the steps. Hopefully, it make sense.

Pocket Fabric - Echino fabric

I started out with a wide square – about 11 inches x 10 inches

 

Outside pocket tutorial - Pocket folded - Echino Fabric - CSews.com

I made two pleats and pinned them in place.

 

Tutorial - fold pocket in half to use as pattern piece to cut back side of pocket - CSews.com

Fold the front pleated pocket piece in half to use as a pattern for the back pocket piece but make it a couple of inches taller than the front piece. Cut the back pattern piece. I used a black cotton/poly fabric I got at a Bay Area Sewists fabric swap.

 

Tutorial - outside pocket - Echino fabric - CSews.com
Finish the top edge. I used some pre-made bias tape in my stash.

 

Tutorial - Fashion fabric for top of pocket

For the “tab,” the piece that attaches to the waistband:

  • cut a piece of the skirt linen fabric
  • fuse a piece of interfacing to it (I used black interfacing)
  • finish one long horizontal edge
  • attach the linen fabric to the top of the back pocket piece by placing the skirt fabric right side facing the pocket back. Don’t sew all the way to the bottom.  Trim the seam. I pinked mine.

 

Tutorial - Top of outside pocket - CSews.com

Turn the fabric inside out. Press the fabric. This will be attached to the waistband and the sides of the “tab” above the pocket need to be finished.

Place the front pocket piece, right side facing the back piece. This is why I didn’t sew all the way down the sides. I need a seam allowance to attach the front pocket piece. The front piece overlaps the linen fabric at the top. Sew the front and back together along the sides and bottom. Turn inside out.

 

Outside pocket lined up with waist

On this skirt, the waistband curves slightly. To ensure that the pocket is straight, place the pocket on top of the skirt and trim the excess at the top. See how the top right side is higher than the waist?

After I attached the pocket, I decided it was too long. So I trimmed an inch and sewed the bottom again.

Finished pocket - CSews.com

And finally, the pocket was done!

If I were to make an outside pocket again, I think I would make it a little less complicated by using one fabric for the entire back piece. Then I would sew the front, turn it inside out and finish the raw edges of the “tab” (the part of the back that attaches to the waistband) by making a narrow hem. This would avoid the slight wrinkles just above the top corners of the front pattern piece.

I like an outside pocket because it doesn’t ruin the line of this A-line skirt.  An in-seam side pocket wouldn’t look very good. You could see anything you put in the pocket and it would weigh down the skirt.

Making an outside pocket for a skirt, attaching it to the waistband - CSews.com

 

Self-drafted A-line skirt with an outside pocket

Hi, I wanted to make a quick skirt so I decided to use the pattern I created for a skirt lining. I made the lining pattern in 2011 for my A-line block skirt from the Japanese sewing book Basic Black (affiliate link here). The skirt has three main pieces – the front, back and the narrow waistband is made from a strip of bias tape that’s 1 5/8″ wide (about 4 cm). There’s an invisible zipper on the side. I’m wearing a knit cloche hat I got at a Barney’s outlet several years ago.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Because the skirt is quite plain, I added an outside pocket as a design detail. I used this fun Echino fabric I got last year when I attended Craftcation. Years ago I saw a pockets attached to the waistband on a paid of pants worn by a woman walking down the street. Of course, I stopped her and asked to look at the pockets. She told me she got the pants in Thailand. I never forgot those pants.

Linen skirt with external pocket - CSews.com

Pockets at the side seams wouldn’t really work in an A-line skirt like this because as soon as you put something in the pocket, it would drag down the skirt or ruin the line of the skirt, especially in a drapey fabric like linen.

The side seam has moved forward a little bit in this photo but you can see that a pocket there likely wouldn’t look very good. I’m wearing the lace hat I made (blogged here), Vogue pattern V8891, a Patricia Underwood design.

Linen skirt with outside pocket -CSews.com

I just used the measurements in the book Basic Black, to make the waistband. I used the same fabric of the skirt to make the waistband. I made the mistake of using this stretch interfacing for the waistband. Fabric cut on the bias stretches so the waistband may get a little stretched out.

Bias waistband

Before I attached the waistband, I basted the pocket in place. (I’ll write a separate post about making the pocket.) Then I sewed the waistband in place, folded it in half and stitched in the ditch. Here’s a close-up of the waistband…

Narrow bias waistNarrow bias waistband - stitched in the ditch - CSews.comband - stitched in the ditch

… and the invisible zipper at the side seam. I wasn’t so great at keeping the waistband the same width all the way around. But I didn’t want to rip it out. No one’s really going to see the waistband anyway. (Excuse the dark photos.)

Invisible zipper installed in side seam

I finished the hem with premade bias tape using a straight stitch. I ran out of blue so I just attached red to finish it.

Bias tape hem finish - CSews.com

And here are a few more views of the skirt.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - back view - CSews.com

I think I like the lace hat with this skirt better than the cloche. What do you think?

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

The top is RTW from Ann Taylor several years ago.  My necklace was a birthday gift from one of my sisters.

Materials for A-line Skirt

  • 2 yards of linen from my stash (can’t recall what I paid for it)
  • 10″ x 11 ” piece of Echino fabric for the pocket (about $20/yard, I bought 1/2 yard)
  • bias tape in my stash to finish hem
  • Guttmacher thread
  • 70/10 Schmetz needle
Linen skirt with outside pocket detail in Echino fabric - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Sewing at the Google Garage with Bay Area Sewists

Hi, last weekend the Bay Area Sewists meetup group had a Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage – the volunteer-run maker space at the tech giant’s Mountain View location in Silicon Valley. I’m the organizer for the meetup group and Ali, one of our members who works at Google, graciously reserved the space, making it possible for us to meet there. Thank you, Ali!

Here are some of the photos I took from that visit, along with one photo taken by Marilyn, another Bay Area Sewists member, which I’ll identify.

This is some of the fun stuff on the wall just outside the Google Garage – car parts that have been painted in Google colors. You can sort of see that Google is spelled out. The first “G” is made from tires and the two O’s from hub caps.

Google Garage - sign outside the maker space

The Google Garage has high ceilings and has plenty of tables to work. Not surprisingly, there are many computer monitors and a few 3-D printers. We made use of all the tables.

Google Garage - Bay Area Sewists in Googles maker space

In addition to the tables with the wood tops, there were taller white tables – in the foreground of the photo below. These tables had stools for sitting.

Google Garage - maker space tables

In the back of the space is this area with a few sewing machines and sergers. There were also many other sewing machines in a locked cabinet. The Google artwork on this wall is actually a photo of tools spelling out Google.

Sewing machines and sergers at Google Garage maker space

Here’s a spray-painted sign inside the maker space. As you might be able to tell, it’s the hood of a car.

Google Garage sign in the maker space in Mountain View

I brought a couple of things to work on at the Google Garage – fitting the back of my Flint pants (they were a little baggy in the back) and cutting an A-line skirt from a pattern I drafted when I made the lining for this skirt. I shared this table with Shontai, who was cutting out a PDF pattern.

Google Garage - sewing project

We were also fortunate to have several giveaways from Fabrix in San Francisco, courtesy of Bay Area Sewists member Annetta who works at Fabrix. She brought many two-yard cuts for us, which you can see in the photo below. Here she is telling us about the store, which carries discounted designer fabrics. She says you’ll find a lot of stuff priced at $2.89 or $3.99 a yard – and there’s even a $0.99 table.

Annetta from Fabrix - showing the range of fabrics and trims available there

I have not been to this store yet, mostly because it’s a long trip via public transportation. Now I really want to check it out. At those prices, you could get quite a lot of fabric for $20.

Towards the end of our Google Garage meetup, we had a raffle and four winners got to have first pick of the fabrics, with the first winner choosing four fabrics, the next three, and then two and then one. Annetta also had various coupons for yardage and notions at Fabrics.

Ali won first pick. Here she is choosing her fabrics. After the winners made their picks, all the other fabrics were up for grabs. See the fabric with the circle design? I got that quilt-weight fabric. I think it could be a fun summer skirt.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s a close up of some of the fabrics.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

These are all trims and collars from Annetta’s collection, which she got at Fabrix. She brought them to show the range of trims there.

Trims from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s the photo Marilyn took of me introducing Annetta. I’m in the center of the photo in front of the wood wall. To the right of the wood wall is the entrance to the sewing area with machines and sergers.

Google Garage - sewing machines and sergers available for employees

And here’s the group photo. We had a great time at the Google Garage!

Sew Together at Google Garage in Mountain View

If you live in the Bay Area and would like to join the group, visit the meetup page here to see past and upcoming monthly meetups.  We have fabric and pattern swaps as well as fitting meetups. It’s free to join for the first 90 days. We typically meet in Berkeley, San Francisco, and occasionally in the South Bay.

Do you participate in any sewing meetups? What do you usually do at your meetups?

Bay Area Sewists - Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage in Mountain View

Me Made May – a wardrobe shift

Hi! If you’re participating in this year’s Me Made May, perhaps you’ve been wearing a handmade outfit everyday. Organized by Zoe of So Zo What do You Know? – she describes Me Made May as “a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more.” (emphasis hers) You can read more about it on Zoe’s blog here. I’ve participated in Me Made May officially and unofficially from 2013 to 2015.

It was easy to participate in Me Made May when I worked in an office because most of what I made was for work – skirts and dresses. I also coerced co-workers to take photos of what I was wearing. Now that I’m working at home, there are only a few me made garments that I’ve been wearing. I really don’t feel like wearing a nice dress when I’m working at home. But whenever I have any meetings off-site, I usually wear something that I wore when I went to an office.

This year I decided to unofficially participate in Me Made May but not document what I was wearing every day because I’m not wearing me mades everyday. We’re more than halfway through May so I thought it would be a good time to pause and look at what I’ve been wearing so far.

Today I’m wearing my reversible Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, which I made in February and blogged here. I usually wear it with the red side out. I wear black a lot and red is one of my favorite colors. This is a photo I took when I finished it.

Reversible Toaster Sweater - Sew House Seven sewing pattern

I’ve worn this black skirt numerous times. It’s become my go-to skirt. The pattern is the A-line Block Skirt from the Japanese sewing book Basic Black (affiliate link here, blogged here).  I wore it with the Toaster Sweater when I took these photos for my blog post. The skirt has 16 panels – 8 for the front and 8 for the back. You can’t see the panels in this photo but they are there.

Basic Black A-line Block Skirt - pattern from Basic Black Japanese sewing book - Tuttle Publishing

This skirts goes with many different tops. Here’s the photo I took when it was finished in 2015. The skirt has an invisible zipper on the side.

Basic Black A-line block skirt

I’ve also worn my Pilvi Coat and Mimosa Culottes a few times this month. I made them this year and I really like them both. The Pilvi Coat is from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here, blogged here).

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I’ve worn my Pilvia Coat with my Mimosa Culottes but I don’t have any photos of me wearing them together so you’ll just have to imagine it. The Mimosa Culottes (blogged here) are by Named Clothing. I made the removable hat ribbon on the hat, too.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

I’ve also worn hats that I’ve made this month – newsboy caps I made from patterns I drafted – and the hat with the removable hat ribbon I made (see my tutorial here).

These garments are the main me made things I’ve worn during Me Made May. Clearly, I need more casual clothes to wear at home. I am working on the Flint Pants by Megan Nielsen. I made a mock-up and I need to fix the waistband. It gapes at the top so I need to make a curved version waistband, an issue sewing blogger Sew Busy Lizzy had when she made her Flint pants. I need more casual pants and skirts.

Me Made May is a good time to take stock of your wardrobe and see what’s missing, what you wear most often and adjust your sewing plans for the rest of the year.

Are you participating in Me Made May? What have you learned about your wardrobe?

Me Made May - Toaster Sweater (Sew House Seven sewing pattern), Mimosa Culottes (Named Clothing sewing pattern) - CSews.com

Hello Stitch – a new sewing studio

Hey, Berkeley now has a new sewing studio with sewing machines, sergers and a long-arm quilter! Hello Stitch offers a place to sew for members as well as sewing and quilting classes (read about membership benefits here). Kristen, Stacey and Terri, the founders of Hello Stitch Studio, “wanted to create a space where people can be inspired to sew and create things by hand.”

Hello Stitch Studio founders - Kristen (left), Stacey and Terri.
Hello Stitch Studio founders – Kristen (left), Stacey and Terri at the grand opening.

 

I got this lovely pin at the grand opening in April. The colorful quilt in the background is by the talented Tara Faughnan.

Hello Stitch pin

Hello Stitch has a spacious studio with high ceilings and gets great natural sunlight.

Hello Stitch sewing studio interior

Here’s a look at some of the sewing machines and sergers there.

Hello Stitch sewing machines and sergers

One wall has these cards with the classes being offered – garment sewing, quilting, accessories and more.

Classes at Hello Stitch sewing studio in Berkeley

Garment sewing at Hello Stitch

If you’re interesting in garment sewing Beth Galvin, who blogs about sewing at SunnyGal Studio and blogs for Craftsy, will be teaching at Hello Stitch. Beth has tons of sewing experience and makes nearly all of her clothes and coats. She also sews custom-fit garments for clients. Beth did a great sewing demo for the Bay Area Sewists meetup group in April, showing how to convert bust darts to shoulder gathers.

Here’s what she’s teaching at Hello Stitch:

Sew basics - skirt class at Hello Stitch taught by Beth Galvin

Quilting classes

Hello Stitch offers several quilting classes, including Innova Longarm Certification, which you must take to rent the longarm. I’m not a quilter but I might want to quilt some fabric to make a coat. Wouldn’t it be fun to make your own quilting design and quilt some fabric?

Bay Area Sewists at Hello Stitch

I’m the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists meetup group and we will be having a “show and tell” meetup at Hello Stitch on Saturday, July 8. If you’d like to attend, join the meetup group and RSVP for the meetup here ($5 fee).

It’s great to have a new venue for sewing classes, especially after Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics stopped offering classes last year. (See my interview with Suzan Stonemountain’s owner Suzan Steinberg.) Stonemountain has a good list of the many places you can take sewing classes in the Bay Area here. I’m looking forward to holding a meetup there.

Alzheimer’s clothing – sewing patterns for women

Hi, I only blogged once in April so I’m making up for lost time and posting twice this week. The posts I’ve been working on have required more time to put together because I needed to gather information or images. (For example, see yesterday’s post on sewing pattern height.) Today’s post is about Alzheimer’s clothing, garments that work for people with Alzheimer’s – something people don’t think about unless they know someone with Alzheimer’s. My mom has Alzheimer’s so I’ve been looking at sewing patterns that work for an Alzheimer’s wardrobe.

My mom can no longer deal with multiple buttons on a garment. Her dementia has affected her ability to handle the process of buttoning a cardigan. This means that any clothing she wears needs to be button-free. Zippers are still OK and she can manage dressing herself with some assistance as long as my dad lays out the garments for her in the order she needs to put them on (underwear, top, pants). If you gave her a pile of clothing, she would get confused and not know what to put on first.

Whenever Mother’s Day or her birthday rolls around, I usually don’t have time to make anything and then I find myself wandering the petites department at Macy’s searching for appropriate Alzheimer’s clothing. My mom’s birthday is in December so this year, I’m planning way ahead and putting together a list of potential patterns. I also decided to look beyond  patterns just for my mom and just look for patterns that could be useful for other people who may know someone with Alzheimer’s.

Besides the lack of buttons, it’s important to have simple designs without any extra openings. For example, a top with an opening in the back in addition to the neckhole, such as M7570 would not work – nor would a cold shoulder design like V9260. Too many openings. Look for tops with the three basic openings – one neckhole and two armholes.

These sewing patterns wouldn't work for someone with Alzheimer's because they have too many openings and would be confusing to put on.

Here are some Alzheimer’s clothing possibilities for women.

Tops

The Limoncello Cardigan by SBCC Patterns  doesn’t have any buttons. SBCC’s website says that the front drape “does not overwhelm a petite torso, and can conceal a fuller chest.” My mom is 5 feet (152 cm) tall. SBCC Patterns are designed for petite women, using a base height of 5′ 1″. (Check out my sewing pattern height chart in this blog post.) This is a good pattern for my mom. You can get a hard copy or a PDF of this pattern here.

Limoncello Cardigan - SBCC Patterns - this stylish cardigan works for women with Alzheimer's because it doesn't have any buttons

This See & Sew unlined jacket (B6443) doesn’t have any buttons. It’s a nice basic jacket. The pattern also includes a draped vest. My mom doesn’t really wear vests so I wouldn’t make that for her. You don’t want to introduce unfamiliar clothing to people with Alzheimer’s. It’s best to stick to styles and colors that they are used to wearing. (The pants are not part of this pattern.)

Butterick - B6443 sewing pattern - This jacket is a nice option for women with Alzheimer's because it doesn't have any buttons.

The sleeveless Gimlet Top, also by SBCC Patterns, is designed for knit fabric and looks like a quick sew. Maybe I can make it for Mother’s Day. You can get a hard copy or PDF of this pattern here.

Gimlet Top - SBCC Patterns - This stylish yet simple design is a good option for women with Alzheimer's

The Tonic Tee by SBCC Patterns is a nice basic top. You can buy the hard copy of the pattern here or sign up for SBCC’s newsletter and get a free PDF version of the Tonic Tee. If you’d like to add a cute Peter Pan collar to this tee, check out Christine Haynes’s Tonic Tee Upgrade, a guest blog post from 2014.

Tonic Tee by SBCC Patterns - this basic top is good for women with Alzheimer's

Vogue pattern (V9225) has a good basic design and is flattering for different figures. the different sleeve lengths make this a pattern you can sew for hot or cool weather.

Vogue patterns - V9225 - top - a nice option for women with Alzheimer's

Here’s a more fitted Vogue top (V9205), which has some interesting decorative darts. Beth, who blogs at SunnyGal Studios, has sewn it and blogged about it here.

 Vogue patterns - V9205 - this top with different sleeve options is a stylish option for women with Alzheimer's

This Vogue (V9224) handkerchief-hem tunic would be nice for taller figures.

V9224 - Vogue Patterns - handkerchief-hem tunic - an option for women with Alzheimer's

Pants

These Butterick pants (B5893) have an elastic waist. There are also shorts. I recently bought this pattern for myself.

Butterick - B5893 - pants sewing pattern - the elastic waist on these pants is good for women with Alzheimer's

Dresses

The Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress is a comfy and flattering dress with three sleeve options (cap, 3/4 and long). The big neck opening is good for people with Alzheimer’s. It makes it easy to get dressed (available as a PDF).

Kitschy Koo - Lady Skater Dress - the large opening for the head makes this a easy-to-wear dress for women with Alzheimer's

Sleepwear

McCall’s M6474 is a simple comfortable design – neck and armholes, which are easy for my mom to manage. The pajama bottoms have an elastic waist. Elastic waists are great because they are easy to pull on and take off. It’s probably best to avoid the maxi length nightgown or you risk a fall, plus a shorter length makes it easier to manage in the bathroom. At this point, my mother can no longer communicate when she needs to go to the restroom so my dad just takes her to the toilet at regular intervals.

M6474 - sleepwear, nightgowns and pajamas for women - this basic design is good for women with Alzheimer's

This cute McCall’s pajama set (M7060) doesn’t have any buttons and comes with an elastic waist – perfect for someone with Alzheimer’s.

McCall's sewing pattern - M7060 - pajamas - the elastic waist makes this a good design for women with Alzheimer's to wear

As of this writing, all of these patterns are in print. Should they go out of print, please search eBay and Etsy for a copy. I hope you find this Alzheimer’s clothing information helpful. It makes you realize the little things you take for granted, such as getting dressed in the morning. You do it without thinking about it. My dad helps my mom get dressed everyday.

They live on the East Coast and I’m in California so I don’t see them as often as I’d like. My mom still recognizes people, which is great. But it can be challenging to make conversation because you can’t really ask questions.

My mom taught me and my sisters how to use her sewing machine. She made all our clothes when we were young. Now she can no longer sew. She doesn’t have the cognitive ability to remember how to use a sewing machine. I guess things have come full circle and it’s my turn to make her clothes.

Here's what you should consider when making a garment for someone with Alzheimer's

Sewing pattern height – a chart

Sewing pattern height - a blog post about the height different sewing pattern companies design for, including a chart

Everyone’s body is different. We come in all shapes and sizes, which can make it challenging to find a sewing pattern that fits your body. Luckily, some indie sewing patterns design for a particular body type. For example, Sewaholic Patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, Cashmerette Patterns for curvy figures (cup sizes C–H) and Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Patterns (SBCC) for petite ladies. Each size is designed for a particular bust, waist and hip measurement, but not every company provides the sewing pattern height.

I’m 5′ 8″ (172 cm) and I really haven’t given much thought to the height that patterns are designed for. I’ll be sewing more pants (trousers for you UK and Aussie sewists) so I’m looking more closely at height; then I can make any pattern adjustments before I cut my fabric. I recently finished the Mimosa Culottes by Named Clothing, a Finnish pattern company that designs for my height. I liked the length on the model in the photo so I didn’t make any changes to the length.

Named - Lexi A-line top and Mimosa Culottes

My next pair will be Megan Nielsen’s Flint Pants. I discovered that she designs for a height 5′ 9″ (175 cm) so I trimmed one inch from the length on my pattern piece before I cut my muslin. This experience made me want to find out what height pattern companies use for their designs. And of course, I thought, why not make a chart of all the companies whose patterns I’ve sewn or are in my stash? So that’s how I selected the list of companies. – with the exception of Cashmerette, whose patterns I don’t yet own, partly because I’d have to do a significant small bust adjustment. (I’m an A cup.) So this is by no means a comprehensive list. But I will be updating it. If you are a pattern company and would like to be added to this list, please contact me and send me a link to your size chart, height and cup size you design for.

As far as I can tell, the Big Four (Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue) all use the same height for misses (5′ 5″ to 5′ 6″) and petite (5′ 2 to 5′ 3″/157 cm to 160 cm). Simplicity’s website doesn’t have a standalone size chart on its website but this sewing pattern website lists all Simplicity measurements here.

The chart includes links to each company’s body measurements/size chart (if they have one), the height they design for and the cup size. I don’t know what cup size the Big Four uses so I left that blank. I’ll fill it in when I find out.

Pattern Co. Size Chart Height-in Height-cm Cup Size
Blueprints for Sewing 5′ 5″ 165  B
Burda women’s regular 5′ 6 1/4″ 168
Burda women’s petite 5′ 3″ 160
Burda women’s tall 5′ 9 1/4″ 176
Butterick 5′ 5″–5 ‘6″ 165–168
Cashmerette 5′ 6″ 168  C–H
Christine Haynes 5′ 6″ 168  B
Closet Case Files 5′ 6″ 168  B
Deer and Doe 5′ 6″ 168  C–D
Itch to Stitch 5′ 6″ 168  A–DD
McCalls – misses 5′ 5″–5′ 6″ 165–168
Megan Nielsen 5′ 9″ 175  B/C
Named Clothing 5′ 8″ 172  B
Pipe Dream Patterns 5′ 5″ 165
Paprika Patterns 5′ 7″ 170  A-F
Paprika Patterns 5′ 7″ 170  A-F
SBCC Patterns 5′ 1″ 155  varies
Sew House Seven 5′ 6″ 168 B
Simplicity-misses 5′ 5″–5’6″ 165-168
Sewaholic 5′ 4″ 162 B
Style Arc 5′ 6″ 168 B
Vogue  5′ 5″–5′ 6″ 165–168

Not all of the indie designers include this info on their websites so in some cases, I contacted the companies to find out. They graciously answered my queries within a few days. I hope you find the information useful.

Sewing pattern height is an interesting measurement but it’s not the most important one. Patterns can easily be adjusted for length. The critical measurements are bust, waist and hips. The finished measurements are also very helpful when it comes to pants and skirts. When I make skirts or pants, all I first look at the hip measurement to pick my size. What measurements are the most important for you when you choose a size to sew?

Sewing pattern height - chart listing Big Four and indie pattern heights (Christine Haynes, Closet Case Files, Deer and Doe, Named, Megan Nielsen, Papercut, Paprika, Style Arc, and more)

Pilvi Coat No. 2 – Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

Hi! I finished my Pilvi Coat just in time to wear it to a publishing conference for women last week. I thought the fabric was appropriate for the event and because it was March, women’s history month. The pattern is from the sewing book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link). This is my second Pilvi Coat. I blogged about my first one here.

My first Pilvi Coat was size L. I decided to make one this one size XL because I felt the other one was a little tight in the arms and thought I could use a little more ease in the shoulders. (There’s also a shorter hip-length version of the Pilvi in the book.)

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I got four yards of this wonderful bottom-weight cotton fabric at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics. It has a touch of lycra in it. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was destined to be a Pilvi Coat. It shows off the fabric design very well. design is ASCII art – created using letters and characters to create images.

The Pilvi Coat pattern requires three yards of fabric. I had an extra yard to give myself flexibility in pattern placement. Unfortunately, the fabric is no longer available but they have a variation of this design in an other fabric a knit fabric. [My mistake, I thought it was a knit.] It has a grey background but the faces are in a smaller scale. Update: Stonemountain tells me that the sister fabric is a cotton/poly/rayon jacquard and that it also comes in peach! So you can get something similar but the faces aren’t as big.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I was very careful in my pattern placement. I placed each pattern piece individually so I could decide where I wanted certain faces on the coat. I mainly wanted the women with the sunglasses at the top of the front and the back of the coat.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

The back is supposed to be cut on the fold. But I traced the back pattern piece on the right side of the fabric so I could see where the design would go and then I flipped it over and traced the other side. I wanted the sunglass lady to at the top of the center back. (Please excuse the wrinkles! I wore it all day at the conference and didn’t press it before taking these photos.)

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I finished the facing edges with black bias tape. Then I stitched in the ditch all the way around from the bottom edge all around the neckline and down the other side. I finished the hem with some off-white bias tape in my stash and machine-stitched it in place. I hand stitched the hem on my first Pilvi coat because I didn’t want to see any topstitching. With this coat, the stitches blend into the design.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I didn’t bother with matching the design at the side or sleeve seams. The design is so large, I don’t think it matters. When I placed the pattern pieces for the sleeves, I just wanted faces anywhere on the sleeves.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I’m wearing a vintage hat with a veil. There was a slight breeze so the veil wouldn’t stay in place. Here I am trying to hold it down. This is one of my favorite hats but I don’t often wear the veil down.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I’m also wearing a tunic I made (Draped Mini Dress from Japanese sewing book She Wears the Pants). My pants and camisole are RTW. The sun was really bright so I’m wearing a pair of vintage Vuarnet sunglasses from the 1980s. The big lenses go well with the ladies on my fabric. My lipstick is Ruby Woo by Mac. I got the bracelet from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the necklace from Macy’s and the Pikolinos flats are from a shoe store in San Francisco. You can also get the shoes on Amazon. They are the Pikolinos Puerto Vallarta Mary Jane Sandal (affiliate link).

Pilvi Coat construction details

You can really see the ASCII art in these photos.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - topstitching detail

Here’s the inside front. I finished the raw edges with bias tape and stitched in the ditch.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - inside detail

I didn’t use any bias tape on the side seams or sleeve seams because I didn’t have time to get more or to sew it in place. Instead, I finished those edges with a curving stitch on my sewing machine. This fabric has a tendency to unravel so I may also go over those edges with my pinking scissors.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - hem detail

If I had more black bias tape I would have used that to finish the bottom hem. I had this off-white bias tape so I used that on the hem and top stitched. It matches the design of the fabric.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - pocket bag

This is the fabric I used for my pocket bag. It was left over from this dress I made in 2011.

Pilvi Coat Details

  • Size XL of Pilvi Coat – no changes to pattern pieces except I made the pocket bag one inch deeper and moved pocket placement up 2 inches (~5 cm)
  • 4 yards heavyweight cotton fabric with a little lycra (3.5 yards was probably enough for this design)
  • Gutterman polyester thread – black (no. 10)
  • Schmetz 70/10 needle
  • No interfacing because fabric was heavyweight
  • Construction changes – instead of folding over raw edges of hem and facing, I finished edged with bias tape. For sleeve hems, I used seam tape and hand stitched in place.

I like this pattern and I’m sure I’ll make another one – perhaps in a fabric that isn’t so heavy. It doesn’t lay as flat around the neckline, which could also be because size XL is just a little too big there. The catch is that if you use a fabric with more drape, the front corners will droop unless you give them extra reinforcement.

One last thing for my Northern California readers – Bay Area Sewists is holding a Sew Together, Fitting + Demo meetup on Saturday, April 8 in Berkeley at Lacis. There’s still one place left for one attendee and one member can no longer make it and is selling her $20 ticket. We’ll have two people with a lot of fitting experience on hand to help people fit their patterns and mockups. Beth of SunnyGal Studio will be show how to convert bust darts into shoulder gathers.

Plus we’ll have a couple of raffle prizes at this meetup – an issue of UK sewing magazine Love Sewing + patterns and a free class valued up to $50 at CourseHorse. You’ll find crafting classes in San Francisco on this site, which is a discovery and booking tool for local classes. CourseHorse is still in beta mode for San Francisco. More classes will be coming soon so you may want to sign up with your email address to receive more info when classes are live.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fun fabric (faces created via ASCII art)